Science & Magic: Two Folds of the Same Cloth

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Close Relatives

Magic and science are closely related?

Does this sound preposterous?  Actually, no. 

Arguably they cover two ends of the same spectrum.


As the saying has it, “Go to the source.” In this case, let’s look at the origin of these two words.

  • Science: from the Latin scientiaknowledge, equivalent to scient- (stem of sciēns), present participle of scīre – to know
  • Magic: from the Greek magikḗ, noun use of feminine of magikós. See magus, -ic, magus as singular form of magi, referring in religious history to the three magi (“the three wise men”) that attended Jesus’ birth. A magus was a “wise one” – someone who knows.

Both words (science and magic) by extension emerge and they mean “to know”. Sometimes it is an inexplicable confluence of knowledge like:

  • hard-as-stone fact (science)
  • in the gray area of loosely connected intuition (magic)

The connection between both is there.

Magic and Science as We Know Them

The first form of knowledge (science) is typically demonstrated or verified through conventional means, such as acceptance as common knowledge or by a formal committee, such as a panel of scientists. In our modern times, scientists subscribe to the scientific method, a set of rules by which experiments are conducted to provide reproducible and measurable results.

The other form of knowledge (magic) is usually associated with mysterious influences, sorcery, or unexplained powers. Many times magic has a negative connotation. But we’re beyond superstition and fear of road-show magic and snake oil medical quackery now – right?  Look. In many instances (not every time), magic was merely a form of knowledge that has not been disclosed to the public.

Real-World Magic

Take for example the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell, whose visage in many schoolbooks depicts a classically bearded magus who dispensed of a knowledge of a machine that produced “disembodied voices” from far away. If he had pulled this stunt a mere one hundred or more years before amidst the Puritan-era of early America, or during the shameful witch-hunt frenzy that was the inquisition, Bell would have been tried and executed for heresy! Even Bell’s scientific contemporaries had difficulty understanding his new technology.

But that’s what the “magical version” of science does: Magic dis-covers knowledge by bringing it out of the dreaded darkness into the light of understanding, and then once accepted, people suddenly call it “science”!

Both of Equal Value

Magic and science are two peas in the same pod, albeit opposite ends of that pod. With magic lying on the Intuition end of that pod, and science on the realm of Reason. Neither are to be discounted with respect to one another, and both to be held in greatest regard for their contribution to the dis-cover-y of knowledge.

Question everything.

Go to the source – which in some cases includes one’s own trusted intuition.


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